India and Australia will play two sets of five-match Test series in the upcoming cycles of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), the International Cricket Council announced on its next Future Tours Program (FTP) cycle on Wednesday (August 17).
Australia will host India in the 2023-25 cycle of the WTC and the latter will do the same in the 2025-27 cycle. The last time these two sides were involved in a five-match Test series was in 1992.
"I think spectators from Australia and India and probably anyone that loved the game around the world would have liked to have seen more Test matches between Australia and India, so absolutely I think it's a fantastic initiative and more importantly, I think all the players will really enjoy that as well," former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said on The ICC Review.
"The thing about the Australia-India series is that the conditions we play into so are so different and so contrasting. When India come to Australia they get the fast, bouncy wickets that offer something for the seamers. And then when Australia go to India it's pretty much the other way round with a lot of spin and a lot of reverse swing bowling. So that contrast in itself I think is what players really like and what the fans would love to watch."
Like the ongoing WTC, the Ashes, as well as the England-India Test series, will be contested across five matches during the upcoming FTP. England (22), Australia (21) and India (20) will play the most number of Tests in the next cycle.
The 12 Members will play a total of 777 international matches – 173 Tests, 281 ODIs and 323 T20Is – in the 2023-2027 FTP cycle compared to the 694 in the current one.
“I’d like to thank our Members for the effort that has gone into creating this FTP for the next four years. We are incredibly lucky to have three vibrant formats of the game, with an outstanding programme of ICC global events and strong bilateral and domestic cricket and this FTP is designed to allow all cricket to flourish," ICC GM of Cricket Wasim Khan said.
The upcoming cycle also features five major ICC events. The 2023 50-over World Cup will be played in India, which will be followed by the 2024 T20 World Cup in West Indies and the USA. Pakistan will host the 2025 Champions Trophy before India and Sri Lanka jointly host the T20 World Cup in 2026. The FTP cycle will end with the 50-over World Cup in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia in 2027.